Yes, the Yamaha LC’s were considered the kings in their days, but it was this oft-forgotten lil’ fella which heralded a new age of motorcycle styling.
Most Japanese manufacturers have gravitated to producing four-stroke motorcycles in the late 60’s and early 70’s but Suzuki didn’t really have a four-stroke to show for, until the T500 and GT750 years later. These two engines started the reputation of Suzuki powerplants being “bulletproof.”
Suzuki continued to do what the did best – two-strokes – which were the mainstays of smaller and cheaper bikes.
Two-strokes were being raced extensively on the track too. Yamaha’s introduction of the RZ250R in 1983 ignited the 250 wars, and Honda hit back with the MVX250F in the same year. The MVX was a V-Three cylinder two-stroke.
So what did Suzuki do? Suzuki is well-known for their occasional spurt of genius as they have introduced numbers of innovations to street bikes throughout their history.
Suzuki debuted the RG250 Gamma.
Many motorcycles, and especially the Yamaha RD/RZ series, have been called road-legal racers before but the RG250 Gamma was the first mass-produced motorcycle that featured a lightweight aluminum frame and aerodynamic fairing.
Additionally, it had an advanced full-floater rear suspension and anti-dive forks. The forks were adapted from Suzuki’s RG500 racer.
The engine was a liquid-cooled, two-stroke, 247cc parallel-Twin, producing 46 bhp, sent through a six-speed transmission. The RG250 Gamma weighed only 289 lb. (131 kg) dry. Its rivals, the Yamaha RZ250R weighed 319 lb. (145 kg) while the Honda MVX250F weighed 304 lb. (138 kg).
The RG250 Gamma had become the first true road-legal racer and the precursor to how future repli-racers would look like.